JASON McCartney claims that one in five people of the Colne and Holme valleys are victims of crime (Examiner, January 29). If it were true, this would be a shocking figure.

Let’s examine his survey results a little more closely and contrast them with last week's information, compiled and made public by the police themselves.

Mr McCartney, presumably using money supplied by Belize-based Lord Ashcroft, sent out 40,000 questionnaires and received 4,000 replies; a 10% response. Of those who did return the questionnaire, only 2,000 were sufficiently concerned to answer the ‘crime victim’ question and only 392 said they were victims. This represents less than 1% of those who were asked. One in one hundred, as compared with McCartney’s one in five!

Your readers may be forgiven for thinking that this is statistical jiggery-pokery. Fortunately, we can now look at the police figures.

In a report to the West Yorkshire Police Authority on February 8 the police force said there were 17,767 fewer victims of crime between April and December last year. Altogether, violent crime fell by 9.8%, vehicle crime by 15.3% and criminal damage by 13.8%.

Can we trust the police’s own figures or those of a Conservative candidate?

Alan Shepherd